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AMA to New York Times: Medical Malpractice Reform

Oct. 15, 2011 (published)

Letter to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

The American Medical Association appreciates that your Oct. 7 editorial “Not Their Job” acknowledged the need for tort reform and the current medical liability system’s role in driving up health costs for patients.

The A.M.A. and many others strongly believe that medical liability reform provides a solid solution for reducing the federal deficit and improving a civil justice system that has failed injured patients.

The $62.4 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates federal health programs will spend in the next 10 years on the broken medical liability system is real money entrusted to the government by working Americans. The argument that these billions are too small to worry about is the same logic that got us into our current fiscal predicament.

A majority of the public has consistently supported medical liability reform, while Congressional work groups, including the Senate Gang of Six, the Simpson-Bowles commission and the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force, have acknowledged the value of medical liability reform for reducing the federal deficit.

Reducing the nation’s deficit and bringing common sense to our nation’s broken medical liability system are two worthy goals that Congress’s special deficit-reduction committee should act on for the good of our nation.

Robert M. Wah, MD
Chairman, American Medical Association